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Old January 21, 2020, 02:03 PM   #1
2wheelwander
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788 22-250 bolt needed

Friend of mine on another forum inherited his fathers 788 in 22-250. I'm not quite sure what happened but he is in need of another bolt assembly.

Would anyone here happen to have one they are willing to sell? He's a good guy just trying to keep his Dad's gun functioning.

TIA
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Old January 21, 2020, 05:37 PM   #2
reynolds357
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I dont have one. The last one I saw was over $300.
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Old January 21, 2020, 07:07 PM   #3
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A cursory search hasn't turned up and leads of purchase by myself other than one showing out of stock, and it was north of $250.

Any known for sale is something to go on. . .
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Old January 21, 2020, 07:57 PM   #4
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Is the bolt lost, or simply in need of repair?
Sometimes bolts get lost because the owner stores the bolt in another location to render the rifle inoperable for unauthorized persons, like children. While it's an effective method, it's a bad idea that can lead to this very situation.
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Old January 22, 2020, 02:30 AM   #5
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The bolt handle on 788s are notorious for breaking off if too much force is used. A really good welder might be able to fix it.
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Old January 22, 2020, 01:52 PM   #6
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The .22-250's rim diameter is the same as any .30-06/.308 based cartridge. That being .473". Not that it'll help.
The 788's bolt has a body and a head. Said bolt complete runs about $300.(Not at Gunparts. They have none.) However, the real issue is that 788's haven't been made since 1983 and it was an entry level rifle.
Also bolts are not drop in parts. They must be fitted by a smithy.
I'm not entirely convinced this will help, but it'll give you a place to start. Note that not all of 'em deal with 788's.
https://www.remington.com/specialty-parts-dealers
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Old January 22, 2020, 02:15 PM   #7
Jim Watson
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The 788's bolt has a body and a head.
Not the rimless guns. Their bolts are brazed into a solid unit, like 700.
The .44 and .30-30 have separate non-rotating bolt heads.

As asked, the question is, bolt missing or bolt broken? Handles can be replaced.
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Old January 22, 2020, 05:12 PM   #8
2wheelwander
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He forced the bolt handle up and it completely broke off. He said it was a hot hand loaded round he'd mixed up for his Ruger #1. The 788 hadn't been shot in over 10 years but he had given it a brief clean up and lube before shooting it. As I read his post the bolt is broken off the handle after having to apply considerable force to remove the spent cartridge. I also suggested a gun smith or half talented fabricator to weld it back up. So yeah, bolt broken from the handle.

I didn't realize (but it makes sense) the bolt is fit to the gun.

Thanks for the tip on compatible bolts.

Really appreciate the feedback here.

Last edited by 2wheelwander; January 22, 2020 at 05:17 PM.
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Old January 22, 2020, 05:18 PM   #9
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Odds are very slim you will be able to find a bolt or bolt assembly as a stand alone part, and IF you do, it won't be cheap (scarceity = $) unless you find a guy who just has one in his "junk" drawer and will give it away. There are guys like that out there but FINDING them is rare...

And if you DO get one, the rifle will have to be headspaced to the replacement bolt, and that won't be cheap, either. It's not impossible getting that 788 shooting again might cost more than another (different) complete rifle.

Good Luck!

edit:
the bit about the broken handle came in as I was writing. A broken bolt handle and the rest intact and serviceable is a different matter. Any decent gunsmith (or a good welder) can reweld a bolt handle on the body, and if all you care about is function, not looks, there are a lot of suitable bolt handles that can be fitted.

Since the 788 has its locking lugs on the rear, care will need to be taken to ensure the heat of welding on another handle does not reach the locking lug area. Other than that, its a simple matter.
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Old January 22, 2020, 05:32 PM   #10
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Thanks 44 AMP. Sent him a link to this thread. Hope he joins in.
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Old January 22, 2020, 07:45 PM   #11
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One caveat with the 788s: they don't like hot loads. The 2-piece bolt can bend or misalign under pressure, and the receiver can swell. If it was overloaded to the point that the bolt was damaged, it is possible the receiver lugs are damaged as well.
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Old January 23, 2020, 01:27 PM   #12
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"...it completely broke off...." That's different. Assuming you have the bolt handle. There are lots of places that fix 788 bolts.
Where you are matters. Or just do a net search for M788 bolt repair. Or go to one of the guys on Remington's list.
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Old January 23, 2020, 04:06 PM   #13
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Originally Posted by Scorch
One caveat with the 788s: they don't like hot loads. The 2-piece bolt can bend or misalign under pressure ...
I have to disagree with that statement, at least as it applies to the 22-250 which is the caliber I have my 788 in.

First of all the bolt has 9 locking lugs, and is very strong. What part of the bolt have you seen bend under a hot load? I have loaded and fired some hot loads in the rifle with zero ill effects. Though I'll hasten to add that I don't make a habit loading hot loads. It isn't necessary.

That 788 ($112 in 1967 ) remains one of my most accurate rifles to this day.
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Old January 23, 2020, 06:41 PM   #14
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I have to disagree with that statement
You are entitled to your opinion, but it does not outweigh facts.

I have only seen 3 788s blown up: one was a 223 that the owner was trying to get 22-250 ballistics out of, a 30-30 the owner was trying to get 308 ballistics out of, and a 308 the owner felt was strong enough to take anything because the rifle was so heavy. In the case of the 223, the braze between the two pieces of the bolt gave up; the 30-30 the lugs galled and seized; and the 308 we were never able to get open. I see very few 788s nowadays, mainly because they have been out of production for so long.
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Old January 23, 2020, 07:14 PM   #15
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Originally Posted by Scorch View Post
You are entitled to your opinion, but it does not outweigh facts.

I have only seen 3 788s blown up: one was a 223 that the owner was trying to get 22-250 ballistics out of, a 30-30 the owner was trying to get 308 ballistics out of, and a 308 the owner felt was strong enough to take anything because the rifle was so heavy. In the case of the 223, the braze between the two pieces of the bolt gave up; the 30-30 the lugs galled and seized; and the 308 we were never able to get open. I see very few 788s nowadays, mainly because they have been out of production for so long.
Are you talking about hot loads or proof loads. What you are talking about sounds beyond hot.
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Old January 23, 2020, 10:11 PM   #16
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Are you talking about hot loads or proof loads. What you are talking about sounds beyond hot.
Those would be "hot" loads and BEYOND proof loads. Think about it, Proof loads are well beyond standard working pressure, yes, but the gun is intended to SURVIVE them WITHOUT damage.

IF a gun is damaged by hot handloads they are beyond "proof" levels.

And that's the problem "hot" is used for loads approaching listed working max levels and also for everything beyond that. NO matter how far beyond that.

obviously if the gun is damaged its not just a "hot load" its a TOO HOT load but most people won't bother to say it that way.

One thing about the 788 action, though it does have all those little lugs, and like the Weatherby with its little lugs, the calculated strength is as good or better than a pair of larger lugs.

However, the 788 has its lugs at the rear and so there is the length of the bolt body being compressed a bit before the rearward thrust is stopped by the locking lugs being locked into the receiver.

Virtually ALL rear locking actions have been found to exhibit some degree of stretch or flex during firing. Most of the time this is irrelevant in practical terms. Once in while its not. and in over load conditions it can become a significant factor.
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Old January 23, 2020, 10:30 PM   #17
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Originally Posted by 44 AMP View Post
Those would be "hot" loads and BEYOND proof loads. Think about it, Proof loads are well beyond standard working pressure, yes, but the gun is intended to SURVIVE them WITHOUT damage.

IF a gun is damaged by hot handloads they are beyond "proof" levels.

And that's the problem "hot" is used for loads approaching listed working max levels and also for everything beyond that. NO matter how far beyond that.

obviously if the gun is damaged its not just a "hot load" its a TOO HOT load but most people won't bother to say it that way.

One thing about the 788 action, though it does have all those little lugs, and like the Weatherby with its little lugs, the calculated strength is as good or better than a pair of larger lugs.

However, the 788 has its lugs at the rear and so there is the length of the bolt body being compressed a bit before the rearward thrust is stopped by the locking lugs being locked into the receiver.

Virtually ALL rear locking actions have been found to exhibit some degree of stretch or flex during firing. Most of the time this is irrelevant in practical terms. Once in while its not. and in over load conditions it can become a significant factor.
I agree except about the proof loads. I firmly believe that using proof loads repeatedly will cause very early failure.
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Old January 24, 2020, 11:10 AM   #18
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The gun is meant to stand a proof load (about 33% overload) ONCE.
Back when the feds were trying to write a definition of "Saturday Night Special" they had White Laboratories shoot a number of handguns extensively. One sample got standard loads, one got a periodic proof load. Those with multiple proof loads did not last.

There was a website debunking the 788, which had, probably still has a lot of followers who say "Better than a 700." As I recall, the conclusion was that it is fine for .30-30 and .222 but the standard head diameter high pressure cartridges are marginal for its rear lockup. It isn't going to blow up, but case stretching is a problem in .22-250 etc.
My .223, operating at higher pressure than .222 seems ok, but it retains the small head diameter.
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Old January 24, 2020, 11:29 AM   #19
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i've owned numerous Remington model 788 rifles in all the calibers. Currently own two, one in .22/250 the other in .308. Both rifles have fired hundreds of max or near max handloads: No problem with excessive case stretching.
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Old January 24, 2020, 02:05 PM   #20
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I firmly believe that using proof loads repeatedly will cause very early failure.
I agree. Testing anything to limits well above its intended design range, REPEATEDLY will result in eventual failure. And that failure will happen before (by count number of cycles, or shots) it happens operating within design parameters. That is "early".

Quote:
The gun is meant to stand a proof load (about 33% overload) ONCE.
That is the standard we use today. A sensible one, considering that if you test a product to destruction, you no longer have a product you can sell. Pass proof testing (once) and its good to go. Keep proof testing and eventually it will fail. Might be the 3rd, or the 33rd or maybe even the 333rd time, all we know is, at some point it will fail due to repeated overload.

if you can accurately predict when the gun will fail (shot #) with proof loads, then please tell me next week's winning lottery numbers. I'd share the jackpot!

The concept of proof testing" comes down to us from the days of armored knights. Look at the (surviving) sets of "high quality" armor plate. You will often find a "dent" in the breastplate. Deliberately made by the smith, who shot the armor (with a bow/crossbow originally and later a gun) to "prove" the armor would withstand the impact.

Wealthy noblemen, kings and princes weren't going to lay out serious coin for armor and just take the word of the smith on how good it was. They wanted proof! Eventually the powder charge (and ball) used to test the armor became known as the "proof load".

The same concept in gun making is the load the gun is tested with as proof it (the gun) will survive.

It is ridiculously easy to create handloads that hugely exceed industry standard proof load pressures. This is the main reason it is so vital to pay attention to what you are doing when making ammunition.
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Old January 24, 2020, 08:34 PM   #21
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Are you talking about hot loads or proof loads. What you are talking about sounds beyond hot.
I don't care whether it is your favorite recipe or someone else's mad scientist concoction, when you go outside of tested and published loads, you are in uncharted territory and you do not know what pressures you are playing with. And yet, reloaders brag about doing it and "getting no pressure signs". They don't know. Hot loads means anything above published max loads. And the fact that different loading manuals vary widely just makes it murkier.

I remember about 20 years back when piezo pressure transducers became the norm, there was a technical writer who went back into old reloading data published by PO Ackley and Speer that tested 15-20,000 psi higher than SAAMI max pressure specs. I have had people bring rifles to my shop that were totally locked shut due to their "hunting loads". We had a man bring in a 722 in 300 Savage that he had loaded to 308 max loads. The rifle was essentially welded shut, but he was mad at me for turning it away and he swore those loads were just fine because "300 Savage is the same as 308" because the 308 was developed from the 300 Savage. I can't count the number of bolt handles I have brazed back onto Remington 700s and 721s because the rifle "had to be beat open", and yet the owners swore the loads were safe.

So, long drawn-out way to say it, but you don't know what pressure your loads are developing. At best you guess based on "pressure signs" and measuring case head expansion or gauging bolt lift or estimating due to primer pocket expansion. Those things don't tell you much at all because you don't know the hardness of the brass, or its flow characteristics, or virtually anything except traditions taught to you by a mentor (real life or publication). Don't get me wrong, I've done it too. But anything beyond published loads in a factory firearm is venturing into uncharted territory and your loads are "hot" and therefore suspect.
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Old January 24, 2020, 10:11 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Scorch View Post
I don't care whether it is your favorite recipe or someone else's mad scientist concoction, when you go outside of tested and published loads, you are in uncharted territory and you do not know what pressures you are playing with. And yet, reloaders brag about doing it and "getting no pressure signs". They don't know. Hot loads means anything above published max loads. And the fact that different loading manuals vary widely just makes it murkier.

I remember about 20 years back when piezo pressure transducers became the norm, there was a technical writer who went back into old reloading data published by PO Ackley and Speer that tested 15-20,000 psi higher than SAAMI max pressure specs. I have had people bring rifles to my shop that were totally locked shut due to their "hunting loads". We had a man bring in a 722 in 300 Savage that he had loaded to 308 max loads. The rifle was essentially welded shut, but he was mad at me for turning it away and he swore those loads were just fine because "300 Savage is the same as 308" because the 308 was developed from the 300 Savage. I can't count the number of bolt handles I have brazed back onto Remington 700s and 721s because the rifle "had to be beat open", and yet the owners swore the loads were safe.

So, long drawn-out way to say it, but you don't know what pressure your loads are developing. At best you guess based on "pressure signs" and measuring case head expansion or gauging bolt lift or estimating due to primer pocket expansion. Those things don't tell you much at all because you don't know the hardness of the brass, or its flow characteristics, or virtually anything except traditions taught to you by a mentor (real life or publication). Don't get me wrong, I've done it too. But anything beyond published loads in a factory firearm is venturing into uncharted territory and your loads are "hot" and therefore suspect.
I dont disagree with anything you said. I will add pressure varies wildly from barrel to barrel. I have always calked looking at brass for pressure signs "witch doctoring." There is nothing reliable about reading " pressure signs " A mic is about the only thing you can use to determine excess pressure.
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